A week ago Ralph Wald was acquitted of murder in Tampa Bay and in celebration, he took his wife to Waffle House.
Of all places to toast the preservation of his freedom Wald - gentleman that he is -chose a restaurant chain best known for countless cell phone videos of drunken 3 a.m. fights between people whose first names most often end in either “isha” or “ubba.” Now I just Yelped restaurants in the Tampa Bay area, and at first, was shocked Ralph passed up El Puerto Argentinean Grill for his freedom meal bonanza. But Ralph employs a totally different mindset; one of low prices, food poisoning, and familiar greasy comfort food. And I respect that.
So in honor of Ralph and his trailblazing courage, I present to you a list of my top 5 restaurants comparable to the quality found at Waffle House in which I feel a murder acquittal celebration would be completely appropriate.
Denny’s is right up there with Waffle House in terms of “chances your meal is coming with a box cutter to the rib cage in the parking lot.” I think it’s the Grand Slams portion of the menu, however, that puts this place in a league of its own. Getting the Grand Slam is like declaring yourself invincible, as if the fact that the feds didn’t kill you makes it okay to tempt fate by rolling the dice with a breakfast that may send you spiraling into cardiac arrest. These meals range from 1200 to about a billion calories, but the satisfaction after escaping a murder charge is immeasurable.
For far too long, Checkers has been denied its rightful place in the conversation of best chain restaurants in the country. Consistently edged out by big wigs like Sonic with their fancy commercials and other upscale amenities, it’s time for Checkers to emerge from the shadows to showcase their unrivaled bacon cheeseburger. At the same time, however, the low profile maintained by the “urban” food joint makes it an ideal spot to celebrate walking away from a gruesome murder where the blood is clearly on your hands. Also, the majority of Checkers’ patrons have either just come from or are on their way to committing a crime, so you’ll blend right in.
Motel 6 Continental Breakfast
Motel 6 is a magical place. It’s one of those American cornerstones that really demonstrate what the highway system in Middle America is all about, where an overnight stay in a room where virtually every item is tastefully decorated with a touch of blood and/or semen from past guests rolls seamlessly into an equally exquisite breakfast. Smart money would have you celebrating your courtroom victory with travel size yogurts and discontinued cereal brands from the nineties, but don’t forget to bag some bananas for the ride home. As long as you eat them before the ratio of yellow to brown skews quickly out of your favor, you can keep this party rolling on the go.
Cracker Barrel isn’t just a restaurant. That’s what most people don’t get. We all see the sign telling us the next one is 7 miles away as we travel down I-95, but do we really understand it? Do we realize it’s a store also? Can we even fathom the amount of useless shit we’ll never need that lines the walls as far as the eye can see in the back part of the restaurant? But you just got acquitted of a felony, and this is a special occasion! Time to live a little! So treat yourself to a rock candy and a key chain with the first letter of your name on it after a hearty omelette. You earned it, murderer!
Subway Connected to Gas Station
I think it’s safe to say that Ralph Wald or myself wouldn’t be caught dead in a regular, freestanding Subway restaurant. Too much class for such a situation. But a Subway located in the back of a gas station, right passed the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos… now that’s more our speed. Gas station Subways are a way for us men to really get to know ourselves - really discover who the real “me” is. The hot sweats, the feeling of meat hitting other meat somewhere around your lungs, that “What the fuck did I just eat?” half crumpled over in pain/half limp thing you got going on as you walk back to your car. You’ll never be more in touch with the inner workings of your body - a luxury we may have never experienced behind bars.
Some will scoff at Ralph Wald’s decision to celebrate his freedom at a Waffle House, but I totally get it and I back it 100%. Sometimes you don’t need the $50 steak or the bank-breaking bottle of wine. It’s about that unparalleled feeling that only grimy comfort food can provide. Pretty much any restaurant located under the “Food” section of highway exit signs will suffice to deliver this feeling. Except Roy Rogers. Who the fuck eats at Roy Rogers?
- Jake Strasser (follow on twitter)